March 16, 2007
Interesting cultural politics
_The President's Mystery_ is an interesting cultural expression of political ideals, in this case those of the New Deal. The script is co-written by Nathaniel West. If you are interested in how specific political ideals and values are overtly translated into a cultural text -- rather than how it's usually done, in a covert manner -- this film is well worth watching.
December 7, 2004
Depression Era Propaganda
This film, originally released at 80 minutes running time,(this version runs 53 mins.) 6 weeks before the 1936 Presidential Elections is a largely populist pro-Roosevelt "we're all in this together piece" that may have played well for the times. Roosevelt was going to win re-election, but this film helped focus on the continueing re-construction going on. It gets quite preachy at times. Henry Wilcoxson, is mis-cast as James Blake/Carter but isn't completely bad either. Evelyn Brent as the adulterous wife has all the best scenes and lines saved in this print. (maybe more and better ones in the full print). Sidney Blackmer phones in his villiany for the most part. Betty Furness (borrowed from M-G-M) could have stayed over there for all of her lack of impact. Nat Levine, who would be gone from Republic by February 1937 was the executive producer working with mostly new people not as familiar with his methods as was his Mascot Pictures crew, which was steadily leaving and moving on. This film has all the earmarks of Herbert J. Yates and his politics. Simplistic and over-the-top? Yes. Worth a look? Yes.